Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The new "tax swap"

Senate President Emil Jones Jr.’s name appears on the list of sponsors of a version of a “tax swap” that would reform the way Illinois pays for public education. His support is a reversal from the Democratic leaders’ alliance with the governor last year but consistent with Jones’ stances in years before that. Support from the chamber leader is a big boost for Sen. James Meeks and Sen. John Cullerton’s measure, but the bill has two main hurdles: 1) Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s expected veto of anything that increases state income taxes and 2) the curse of gaming legislation, or getting so weighed down by trying to please everyone that the bill implodes and goes nowhere.

The measure advanced today from the Senate Education Committee, the first of many public hearings planned for this legislation before it’s ready for a vote by the full Senate.

Senate Bill 2288 is the new Senate Bill 750, but it has major differences. (Some are mapped out by Senate Democrats here. The main difference is that the new version would raise a lot more revenue — $7.2 billion — to do a whole lot more, funding a statewide infrastructure program and paying down state debt. Specifically, highlights include $633 million for early childhood and primary education, $300 million for higher education, $2.9 billion for property tax relief adjusted for inflation each year, $600 million for a family tax credit adjusted for inflation each year, $1 billion for a road and school construction plan and more than $1 billion for state pension and Medicaid debt.

“The goal of this bill is to pay off our debts,” Cullerton said in the committee hearing. He later added, “Not one penny is going to the operations of state government.”

Some Republicans in the committee found that hard to believe, but Cullerton said the sponsors eagerly seek input from the GOP and the House to codify better language. The sponsors still have the same list of supporters and opponents as 750. Most education and labor groups support it. Opponents include business groups and the Illinois Department of Revenue. (One school board in Chicago’s northwest suburbs of Palatine and Schaumburg opposed the property tax relief portion and said schools across the state can’t trust Illinois government to deliver, but those witnesses also said they supported many funding reform ideas in the legislation.)

The way the measure would raise the money is by increasing the personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent and the corporate rate from 4.8 percent to 8 percent. It also could, although it doesn’t yet, take back $800 million from the portion of the state income tax revenue that local governments currently receive.

On the spending side, the measure lists general initiatives but doesn’t specify where the money would go. Also absent, so far, are “accountability” measures, or safeguards for how state and local governments spend the money as intended. That’s a necessary component for Democratic Sen. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest. She voted “present” in committee to symbolize her concerns. “There has to be oversight. It’s not going to happen with this magic wand. I could never support this, especially from my area, without some major, major reforms.”

Meeks said those reforms are going to be drafted after collecting ideas in a series of public hearings, which is particularly important when “nobody trusts us to do what we say we’re going to do.”

We’ll have more details as they unfold. In the meantime, it’s safe to say this version isn’t going to advance for a while, maybe months.

The governor’s response is, according to an e-mail from spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch: “The push for an income tax increase isn’t new in Springfield. The governor’s position hasn’t changed. He thinks we should cut taxes, not raise them — especially at a time when families are already dealing with higher gas bills, higher prices for goods and stagnant wages.”

Jones’ spokeswoman, Cindy Davidsmeyer, said the Senate president has said and continues to say that he will not call this type of controversial measure for a vote on the Senate floor unless it has enough votes to pass — that’s 30 to pass and 36 to override a governor’s veto. Considering all the work that needs to be done to complete the legislation and all the GOP recruiting that needs to happen before the measure has a veto-proof majority, it’s optimistic to think that the bill could be called for a vote before May 31, as Meeks would like.

6 comments:

Read my lips,  6:36 PM  

From PUBLIC POLICY CAUCUS





The Cook County Board will vote this afternoon on President Todd Stroger’s sales tax increase. This is the latest in an unending effort to fund the waste, cronyism, nepotism and corruption in the county government. The unmitigated gall of Stroger is well established. You should need no long list of “talking points” to know just how wrong and destructive this tax increase is. These are the types of irresponsible policies that destroyed the economic base of Detroit and at one time put New York in to bankruptcy.



Here are the commissioners who will either bend to Stroger’s schemes, or stand up for the people of Cook County. Please take a moment to make a quick tall to each of them, and register your opposition.



William Beavers (312-603-2067)
Jerry Butler (312-603-6391)
Earlean Collins (312-603-4566)
John Daley (312-603-4400)
Joseph Mario Moreno (312-603-5443)
Joan Patricia Murphy (312-603-4216)
Deborah Sims (312-603-6381)
Robert Steele (312-603-3019)

Coughlin,  7:16 PM  

Hence We wish to expose once more in a brief synthesis the principles of atheistic Communism as they are manifested chiefly in Bolshevism. We wish also to indicate its method of action and to contrast with its false principles the clear doctrine of the Church, in order to inculcate anew and with greater insistence the means by which the Christian civilization, the true civitas humana, can be saved from the satanic scourge, and not merely saved, but better developed for the well-being of human society.

The Communism of today, more emphatically than similar movements in the past, conceals in itself a false messianic idea. A pseudo-ideal of justice, of equality and fraternity in labor impregnates all its doctrine and activity with a deceptive mysticism, which communicates a zealous and contagious enthusiasm to the multitudes entrapped by delusive promises. This is especially true in an age like ours, when unusual misery has resulted from the unequal distribution of the goods of this world. This pseudo-ideal is even boastfully advanced as if it were responsible for a certain economic progress. As a matter of fact, when such progress is at all real, its true causes are quite different, as for instance the intensification of industrialism in countries which were formerly almost without it, the exploitation of immense natural resources, and the use of the most brutal methods to insure the achievement of gigantic projects with a minimum of expense.

The doctrine of modern Communism, which is often concealed under the most seductive trappings, is in substance based on the principles of dialectical and historical materialism previously advocated by Marx, of which the theoricians of bolshevism claim to possess the only genuine interpretation. According to this doctrine there is in the world only one reality, matter, the blind forces of which evolve into plant, animal and man. Even human society is nothing but a phenomenon and form of matter, evolving in the same way. By a law of inexorable necessity and through a perpetual conflict of forces, matter moves towards the final synthesis of a classless society. In such a doctrine, as is evident, there is no room for the idea of God; there is no difference between matter and spirit, between soul and body; there is neither survival of the soul after death nor any hope in a future life. Insisting on the dialectical aspect of their materialism, the Communists claim that the conflict which carries the world towards its final synthesis can be accelerated by man. Hence they endeavor to sharpen the antagonisms which arise between the various classes of society. Thus the class struggle with its consequent violent hate and destruction takes on the aspects of a crusade for the progress of humanity. On the other hand, all other forces whatever, as long as they resist such systematic violence, must be annihilated as hostile to the human race.

Communism, moreover, strips man of his liberty, robs human personality of all its dignity, and removes all the moral restraints that check the eruptions of blind impulse. There is no recognition of any right of the individual in his relations to the collectivity; no natural right is accorded to human personality, which is a mere cog-wheel in the Communist system. In man's relations with other individuals, besides, Communists hold the principle of absolute equality, rejecting all hierarchy and divinely-constituted authority, including the authority of parents. What men call authority and subordination is derived from the community as its first and only font. Nor is the individual granted any property rights over material goods or the means of production, for inasmuch as these are the source of further wealth, their possession would give one man power over another. Precisely on this score, all forms of private property must be eradicated, for they are at the origin of all economic enslavement .

Refusing to human life any sacred or spiritual character, such a doctrine logically makes of marriage and the family a purely artificial and civil institution, the outcome of a specific economic system. There exists no matrimonial bond of a juridico-moral nature that is not subject to the whim of the individual or of the collectivity. Naturally, therefore, the notion of an indissoluble marriage-tie is scouted. Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity. Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right.

THIS IS WHY YOUR TAXES ARE HIGH,  11:50 PM  

My topic today is to publicly expose another method by which the Dirty Dick Daley Mob has been defrauding the residents of Chicago.

Every two months Chicago building owners with water meters are sent bills base on reading of the water meter for their building, home or business property. There are two basic types of meters that record water usage. One meter registers the numbers in cubic feet. The other type of meter registers the usage in gallons. Chicago measures water usage in cubic feet. All meters that are ordered, inventoried, supplied to plumbers and plumbing contractors by the City of Chicago to measure their water usage should be registering in cubic feet.

Unfortunately for many Chicago homeowners and building owners the City of Chicago has provided them with water meters that register in gallons. There is a difference. Registration on a gallon meter is 7.14 times as great as the registration on a cubic feet meter. As a result Chicagoans have been routinely charged 7.14 times their actual water usage for at least 12 years. These water meters have been ordered and received by the City of Chicago. They were placed in the inventory of the Meter Shop. They were given to Chicago Area Plumber's and Plumbing Contractors and sent to the street for installation as replacement water meters by City of Chicago Plumbers and Machinists.

This is a typical break down on over charging with the gallon meters:

$1.00 in water usage with a gallon meter is billed $7.14 in cubic feet.
$100.00 in water usage with a gallon meter is billed at $714.00
$1000.00 in water usage with a gallon meter is billed at $7,140.00
$10,000.00 in water usage with a gallon meter is billed at $71,400.00

Not once did the Chicago Water Department Meter Shop take the time to check what they received from the water meter manufacturers that also supply gallon meters to other municipalities. These meters were received without being checked. They were inventoried without being checked. They were dispatched to Plumbers, Plumbing Contractors, and Machinists without being checked. They were installed on new and existing services without being checked. They were sealed with a City of Chicago seal without being checked by the Plumber or Machinist that sealed them. In many cases they were read by Water Meter Readers without suspecting that there were multiple layers of incompetence that would allow gallon meters to be installed on cubic feet services. It should not have been possible for a gallon meter to be installed on a Chicago water service registering water bills at a rate of 7.14 times what they should be. It happened in 1996 and perhaps before. It continues to happen. This is the same Water Department that wants to fire Frank Coconate for sloppy paperwork.

I first became aware of the problem in the 3500 block of north Lincoln Avenue in 1997. I found a water meter in a vault in front of a property. I immediately called my office in the DePaul Center and ask why gallon meters were being installed in meter vaults on my route. The response that I received was: You're crazy. "Nobody would install a gallon meter in Chicago." Although I was not believed the person in the office that would not believe that the word gallon was printed on the top of this meter immediately came to investigate for himself. I was correct. It was the first of many gallon meters found on Chicago Water service lines. Those found were discretely removed and replaced without any Chicago water customer ever receiving a corrected bill to the best of my knowledge. I only know of one property a Laundromat that had a large meter with a 2 inch wide pipe connection that might have received a reimbursement for fraudulent billing. There are hundreds of these meters if not thousands that have been installed either in error or on purpose to bill selected individuals at a higher rate. In either case the City of Chicago has decided to commit fraud and extort money from Chicago Water customers rather than to make reimbursements. Every water meter in the City of Chicago should be checked for the word gallon inside the dial on the face of the water meter and the City of Chicago should do the honorable thing for a change and refund the money over-billed by installing gallon meters plus interest in the case of those that they have already cheated.

Everyone in Chicago that has a water meter should immediately open the cover and look under the glass or in many cases now the plastic to see if the word gallon appears under the numbers. If you find the word gallon take a picture of the meter head and contact me immediately or even better call the Federal Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and the FBI, because you are a victim of the Dirty Dick Daley Mob and one of their planned extortion rackets.

You can not expect the most Corrupt Municipal Government in American History to give you an honest water bill. Remember that these are the same "Good People" that are giving you phony parking tickets, bogus tickets for running red lights that have short amber signals, and the highest sales and gasoline taxes in the country. This is the same Municipal Government that collected money for decades on the Chicago Skyway without the benefit of registration. This is the same Municipal Government that tells restaurant owners how many trees and what kind of trees and how old they have to be before they will provide a building permit to work inside of the restaurant. This is the same administration that purposely flooded the city in the Freight Tunnel Flood and then pretended not to have known about the leak to allow them to commit the greatest case of Insurance Fraud in American History. This is the same Municipal Government that gave you the Hired Truck Scandal, Pervasive Personnel Conspiracy, Minority Contract Fraud, sold a 14 million dollar CTA property for $1 million to a Daley friend, and gave $67 million in Municipal Pension Funds to a Daley nephew to invest paying him $8 million dollars to play with the Pension Funds. Dirty Dick Daley was quick to point out that he did not give his nephew $67 million, that it was the Pension Boards. The people on those boards doing the voting are his insiders or appointments. No this administration can not be expected to be honest and correct the mistakes in their water bills for the common man. Water bill adjustments are made, but they are usually only to reward Daley insiders or for friends, family or personal gain. Alexander Vroustouris the former Inspector General and the Corporation Council’s Office have been aware of this fraud for an entire decade. At the same time that they were aggressively working to cover up criminal activity inside of the administration, including fraud and theft of Municipal funds, the Daley Administration Inspector General Alexander Vroustouris and Corporation Council Marna Mutz, AKA Maura Georges, were also ignoring the fraud taking place to steal additional water revenue from homeowner with gallon meters.

While many people have been paying 7.14 times their water usage other’s such as the Mall on the east side of South Kedzie Avenue in the 5800 block had no water meter or bill for nearly a decade and still might not be paying for water for the stores and restaurants in the north end of the shopping mall. Ask Alexander Vroustouris and Marna Mutz AKA Marua Georges why they covered up this decade long water steal and while allowing manipulation of accounts with the installation of gallon meters with no money refunded to victims of Municipal Fraud.

Best Wishes,


Whistle Blower Jim Osborne

more corruption,  12:08 AM  

A) The property at 1419 W. Taylor Street was stealing water revenue for more than 30 years and even received more free water after discovery. It should be noted that this property was the first Illinois State Lottery Outlet in 1974 and was already a restaurant stealing water revenue. The food is good, but they have no ice water. They have had only “hot” water for decades.

B) The property at 1446 W. Taylor Street which included the office of 42nd Ward Alderman Burt Natarus and Cook County States Attorney Richard Devine has two buildings and a total of 5 apartments plus the office without a metered water service for decades. Just imagine Burt Natarus washing his hands with stolen water ever day.

C) The Building next door at 1442 W. Taylor Street housing China Nights Restaurant is a similar construction without a metered water service decades.

D) The property at 1546 W. Cortez owned by former Director of Revenue Ernest Wish has no record of a water bill being paid for at least 52 years. Ernie Wish was also State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Illinois, a principal in the Near North Insurance Agency, Head of the DePaul University Alumni Association and a Chicago City Clerk. The only record found for this property was a line on a 1948 Platt Map when the property was a bread board factory. It is time to pay up Ernie Wish.

E) The restaurant operating out of a former fire station at 1400 S. Wabash received free water for years. It is noted that the restaurant receiving free water in Grant Park is currently run by the same people and friends of the same Daley appointed Commissioner of the Water Department, now Deputy Chief of Staff in the Mayor's Office that participated in targeting you for elimination.

F) The building at 2831-45 N. Broadway has 5 restaurants and a beauty salon and has evaded paying for water service for the entire 25 years since it was built with fraud inside of the Water Department to help them keep from paying the bills. This property oddly enough has the name of Irene Caminer sprinkled throughout the documents eliminating water bills. This is the same attorney Irene Caminer that wanted to exclude your attorney Terry Brunner from attending your hearing. Caminer should have to explain why she has allowed this property to pay no water bills for the last decade that she has been a city attorney. Irene Caminer et. Al. should have to explain why the man that collects the rent, Lou Wolf does not pay for water for this property with 5 restaurants and a beauty salon. Perhaps it is time to take a good look at the other building where Lou Wolf collects the rent and the Chicago Water Department does not collect any money.

G) Chicago Circle Cleaners, the laundry at 1423-31 W. Roosevelt had the property removed from Water Department records from 1986 until 1998. They received free water for 12 years until they were caught. Documents were manipulated inside of water collection to eliminate the account. The owner even filed paperwork to have money returned stipulating that his building had been raised. Of course it is a big building and is still on site. All of the records should be examined by the Federal Attorney for this building.

Chicago citizens deserve a better more honest government than they have. Richard Daley has received numerous Certified Letters informing him of the Theft of Municipal Revenue, Fraud, Racketeering, Obstruction of Justice, and Mail Fraud in his administration. He has ignored his fiduciary duty. These letters are believed to be part of the boxes of documents seized by the Federal Attorney of the Northern District of Illinois from Daley's Office. Unfortunately, little action has occurred except for the firing of Alexander Vroustouris the former Inspector General, Richard Rice the former Commissioner of the Water Department and the resignation of Judith Rice the musical chair playing former Commissioner of the Water Department and appointed City Treasurer that voted to give $67 million in Municipal Pension Funds to Daley's nephew for investing and pay him a million dollars a year to do it. Vroustouris who was dictating falsification of reports to Inspector General Underlings has re-surfaced as a top prosecutor at 26th and California in the office of Cook County States Attorney Richard Devine.

steve schnorf 10:39 PM  

I'm neither stupid nor uneducated, but what in the world do these comments have to do with this post?

Extreme Wisdom 11:51 PM  

Steve,

Good question, I can only guess.

The communism post implicitly indicts HB2288 as both communistic and corrupt (a redundancy, to be sure)

The water meter posts show the eventual terminus of nearly all tax payer funds in IL, and that is in some corrupt piece of cr-p's pocket.

If I'm correct, both points are rather well made.

HB2288 is a lie. Anyone promoting it is a liar.

There will not be any property tax relief. I doubt one Illinois resident will see a lower tax bill.

(save Rod, Rahm, and the rest of the reamers)

We are being told that it 'will pay off debts', when in fact, the mob that runs this state has already earmarked which porcine interests will get how much.

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